A MOTHER who has a painful bowel condition said she was was mortified after being told to “f*** off” by a shopkeeper when she asked to use the toilet.

Antoinette Brown was shopping at One Stop in Manor Way, Borehamwood, on April 6 when she suddenly became desperate for the toilet.

The 53-year-old, from Radlett, has ulcerative colitis, which causes inflammation of the bowel, and can lead to diarrhoea, cramps and tiredness.

After paying for her items she asked a member of staff if she could use their toilet and presented a ‘Can’t Wait’ card issued by charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK that explains the condition.

She claims a member of staff then asked the manager, who reluctantly agreed to speak to her.

She was taken to the manager’s office, where he told her: “I’m not interested. You are not using it.”

Mrs Brown replied: “Please read the card”. But the manager replied: “I’m telling you, you are not using it.”

When she told him it was against her human rights, she claims the manager then said “I don’t care, take me to court, sue me”.

She told the manager she could not stand and argue with him, and says she heard him say: “I don’t care, f*** off”.

Watford Observer:

Mrs Brown said she ran out of the shop in tears.

She said: “I felt like rubbish. Some people just don’t get it. Unfortunately my illness is an invisible one. On paper it looks like there is nothing wrong with me.

“I even have a disabled parking badge so I can park as close as I can to the shops.”

She lodged a complaint with One Stop on the same day of the incident.

Mrs Brown wants to use her experience to raise awareness of the illness.

Crohn’s and Colitis UK said it was shocked by Mrs Brown’s experience.

Campaign manager Andy McGuinness said: “While we understand that in some circumstances the use of non-public facing toilets will not be possible, in most cases it certainly will be, as was the case with One Stop.

“We are extremely shocked and disappointed that Mrs Brown had to go through this ordeal.”

One Stop said it is their policy to not allow customers to use toilets but admitted that discretion could have been used in Mrs Brown's situation.

A spokeswoman for One Stop said: “We always strive to offer our customers great service and on this occasion we recognise that we have fallen short of our high standards. It is company policy to not allow members of the public into the back of our shops where our toilets are located for security reasons.

"However, it is clear the store should have used their discretion in this instance. We apologise that we caused the customer distress and we will work with store colleagues to ensure that this does not happen again in the future.”